US sponsors project to preserve Afghan cultural heritage
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago and the Afghanistan Institute of Archaeology would help preserve the war-torn country’s cultural heritage, the US embassy said on Sunday.
Under the US embassy-funded project, which was formally launched on October 21, a satellite-based map database of Afghanistan’s cultural heritage sites will be produced and young Afghans trained in the field of archaeology and Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
Minister of Information and Culture Abdul Bari Jahani and Director of the Afghanistan Institute of Archaeology, Abdul Qadir Timori attended the launching ceremony, according to a statement from the embassy.
The database will be the first of its kind in the Middle East and Central Asia, allowing the Afghan government to map all archaeological heritage sites in the country, document the current state of site preservation and monitor looting
Heritage protection will be incorporated into mining and other economic development projects, the statement added. Oriental Institute Director Dr. Gil Stein, noted the project was explicitly focused on capacity building at the Afghan Institute of Archaeology.
The project is also concentrated on documenting the extent of looting of archaeological sites across Afghanistan as an important tool for heritage preservation. “As such our work complements and adds to the efforts of other projects dealing with other aspects of regional heritage documentation.”
The US embassy said it was currently funding projects worth more than $6.5 million to support Afghanistan in the protection of its unique and globally important cultural heritage.
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